Florence.

**the WordPress app is not letting me post!!!**

The ladies:

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We arrived in Florence after driving from Venice. The roads are beautiful. The drivers are crazy. The speed limit was elusive, I couldn’t find it…so I’m assuming it was limitless. Sometimes they’d tell you to slow down…abruptly taking your speed from very high to 100, 90, 50 and then you’d see a guardrail and slam on the breaks for dear life. Two lanes easily translates to four, with shoulders and dotted lines substituting as lanes at any point…you’d see two lines of cars, then three, then four, then something that resembles a group of people entering a packed subway car, then it would be back to two lanes. Anything goes. Which by the end of the trip…I think I appreciated. 😊 the roads are curvier than any costal road, mountain road, or complicated video game course you’ve ever seen. The fact that we are still alive is nothing short of a miracle (and that our tires and “glasses” -aka windows- are ok). But aside from all of this, I have to tell you how beautiful the countryside is. Aesthetically speaking, the drive couldn’t have been nicer. Always something to look at, always beautiful.
As we approached the city, our GPS voice Fiona began to get out of control. How Meredith and I made it through that without losing it, is beyond me. Fiona had clearly never been to Florence and she was dead-set on getting us to this fricken park on the outskirts of the less pretty side of the city…which has too many names…Florence, Firenze/Fiorentina… My god, we were seriously like Chevy Chase in the London roundabout, going around around and around…just that our roundabout spanned several city blocks. It was like that dreaded twilight zone you’d find yourself in, in this choose-your-own adventure novels where no matter what you did, your character ended up dead by falling off the roller coaster or drowning in a cement pit […why were these story lines in kids books…?]

The GPS managed to give us every wrong turn and find every one-way street to turn the wrong direction in. Our hotel’s front desk was nice upon arrival but absolutely useless in helping us find the damn place (liked the hotel, don’t get me wrong).

Guy: Buonasera, hotel desk, prego?

Meredith: Do you speak English?

Guy: Si.

Meredith: We are lost. Could you give us directions?

Guy: [silencio]

Meredith: Hello?

Guy: Si, this is the front desk?

Meredith: Hi. We are lost. Could you give us directions to the hotel?

Guy: You try to find hotel?

Meredith: Yes, could you give me the GPS coordinates please?

Guy: A GPS-a?

Meredith: Yes the GPS coordinates, could you give them to me, please?

Guy: Si! Via [starts spelling] D….E….

Meredith: No no, the GPS coordinates , longitude and latitude.

Guy: Si!!! Via De Constra…

Meredith: Sir! The numbers!!

Guy: Ah!! Si! Si! ….12!

Meredith: [starts muttering…then collects herself] Coordinates like -42N, 68…

Steph: Just give me the phone.

[Meredith hands Steph the phone]

Steph: Hello, this is Steph. Can you provide us with the G…P…S…coordinates, please? We are lost and our GPS cannot find the hotel. Coordinates. Coordinata…

Guy: Aaaaay….

Steph: What are you near? Our GPS cannot find you. Are you in the city?

Guy: No!

Steph: You’re not?

Guy: No.

Steph: What major landmark are you near? Is there a church near you?

Guy: Si! Santa Maria Novella!

Steph: Gracie. [ looks at Meredith]…Santa Maria Novella…. It’s right in the fucking middle of the city.

***

We changed quickly and left for dinner. What happened at dinner was truly amazing.

We walked out of the hotel and skipped the recommend restaurant…got to S. Maria Novella and scoped out the dinner options and decided on the farther away restaurant. But then Edith says, let’s go to the other place and check out the menu. So we do and we decide that one is good. We ask the guy where to sit. He points to one table but a man sits down in the same instant. Then he points to another and we look around looking for better. We spot one table by these two beautiful women. We thought, they look pleasant. Let’s sit there. “That table there please. We’ll take that one.”

Now I’m only telling you this because I am showing you how many things have could have put us in another spot that night. But no. We ended up next to these two women.

We sat down and started talking immediately. That night called us to them. We shared our good memories of the trip and a bunch of laughs. Then the mom says “…well, we’ve had one bad experience.” From there she literally described the EXACT same story about a man….in Monterosso…with compliments….with hugs….with inappropriate advances…and with fucking lemons! ….for God’s sake, we were shocked. I pulled out my camera and scrolled through my photos… “Did he look like this…?”

Sure enough, it was the same man. What on earth are the chances of that. We met these two ladies at 10:30 pm in a city across the country…and they had the exact same experience one day before us. That made the whole story ok. We started laughing, we shared deeper stories about life, cried, hugged, cried some more, and laughed even more…

There is an expression in Croatian about a dear person (in this case two dear people) who lay (figuratively) across your heart. These two ladies did that. Loved them.

That’s it for today. xo.

(Did I mention how great this trip has been. I have a revived love for humanity…those living in the world now and those who have made these incredible creations of art that I’ve seen. Thank you lovely people of planet earth.)

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